Books as Mirrors: Ensuring Children See Themselves in the Literature They Read

True to our mission of cultivating readers and nurturing writers, we believe that children need to be able to see their race, culture, family dynamics, and neighborhoods in the books they read. That’s why we started “Books as Mirrors,” a three-to-five year initiative that will provide more than $200,000 worth of new, diverse, and culturally-relevant books to Spartanburg County public elementary school libraries.

How it Works

Hub City has compiled a growing masterlist of diverse picture and chapter books that contains over 400 titles. Each book has been hand-selected for its ability to discuss one or more of the following topics: Diverse Family Representation, Identity, Crossing Borders, Making a Difference, and Mental Health. These themes address the wide number of challenges and social issues children in Spartanburg County face everyday.

We coordinate with the principals, vice principals, media specialists, and reading coaches of each school before we assess the unique needs of their library. After conducting a minimum of two school visits, we work with media specialists to create a personalized list of books from our masterlist. These books are intended to help fill the gaps in each collection, and will be delivered within the year of participation.   

School Selection

Our goal is to ensure that every public elementary school in the county has a plethora of books that reflect their diverse student body. As we work to bring Books as Mirrors to all qualifying schools, we will place special importance on “priority schools,” specifically schools with higher numbers of multicultural students, and schools designated as high-poverty schools (public schools where more than 75% of the students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch.) 

The following schools will be served in Year 1 of Books as Mirrors:

Cleveland Academy of Leadership

Jesse Bobo Elementary

Drayton Mills Elementary

E.P. Todd School

Roebuck Elementary

Pauline-Glenn Springs Elementary

How You Can Help

Fundraising is still under way to guarantee the success of the program in Year 1 and beyond. If you’re interested in adopting a school, pledging your support for a year, or giving a one-time donation to Books as Mirrors, please contact our Outreach Manager, Leslie Sainz, at leslie@hubcity.org, or mail a check (please write Books as Mirrors in the memo line) to:

Hub City Writers Project
186 West Main St.
Spartanburg, SC 29306

 
 
 

 

Community Support

Hub City is honored to be a recipient of a 2020 Women Giving for Spartanburg Education Grant! This grant will partially fund Year 1 of Books as Mirrors.

 

Books as Mirrors is supported by The Spartanburg Academic Movement.

 

 

 

Impact Statements

Roebuck Elementary
Katrina Hankins, Literacy Coach

“Although ‘Books as Mirrors’ is a timely topic, these books will be in our media center so that students can see themselves represented for years to come.  In addition, teachers will be able to use these books in their classrooms to model lessons and entice reluctant readers. Clearly, having these resources at our fingertips will encourage conversations and growth in understanding as well as literacy.”


Cleveland Academy of Leadership
Robin Chandler, Media Specialist

"Our population at The Cleveland Academy of Leadership (CAL) is predominantly African American with the rest divided between Hispanic and Caucasian students. These children need more stories that reflect themselves and their lives—be it cultural, religious, their gender, and families so they can make a connection to their lives. Books as Mirrors has the potential to greatly enhance these factors in our collection.”  


Drayton Mills Elementary
Brian Gregory, Media Specialist

“Drayton Mills Elementary's student body is wonderfully diverse. Our African American population is our largest group in the school and we also have the largest Hispanic population in District Seven. Despite this, our library collection does not always reflect this diversity with a much larger percentage of books featuring children who look very different from ours (and many with animals as the protagonists). While we have made strides on our own to address this issue, our limited budget makes wide scale reform impossible. Our students would benefit tremendously from an influx in diverse reading materials from the Hub City Writers Project.”  


 

Pauline-Glenn Springs Elementary
Molly Phillips, Media Specialist

“Part of our vision at Pauline-Glenn Springs Elementary, is to learn self-confidence and self-worth as well as recognize and embrace different cultures. It is also our belief that all students are unique individuals who desire to be cared for, respected, and loved. In our learner standards, we state that students will display a tolerance and an appreciation for cultural diversity. One of the most valuable ways to achieve our vision beliefs, and standards, is to saturate the students with literature that supports those goals. This is why we need more diverse books in our library. We want all of our students to see themselves and the outside world in books that they read."


"Mirrors, Windows, & Sliding Glass Doors"

Books as Mirrors gets its name from Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop's famous essay on multicultural literacy, "Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors."

Our masterlist themes are inspired by Reading to Make a Difference, by Lester L. Laminack and Katie Kelly.

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